TO MY DEAR GRANNY
Directed by Chu Yu-Ning
Opening Night Film, 2012 Golden Horse Film Festival
Grandmothers hold a special place – part life-sworn guardian, part squishy embrace. Silent grandmas: even more magnetic. Their faces simultaneously restorative and filled with secrets, as if they know the heart is a muscle, one that happens to be shaped like a fist.
Utterly heartwarming and at times fantastical, TO MY DEAR GRANNY showcases one such grandmother and a family, like many in the world, in which a grandparent becomes the single most important relationship to a child, and the hardest loss for an adult. In this semi-autobiographical tale, A-Da (Lawrence Ko), his mother, and grandmother are cleaved together by the early death of his father. In that absence, an indelible love emerges between Da and his stoic grandmother, played by Chang Shiou-yun, a 90-year-old first-time actor whose sheer depth of presence is one of the true pleasures of the film. The film also gives us the many ways mother and grandmother arrange themselves around each other, sensitive to triplines and tending social walls, each with a kind of care, itself another kind of love. And shimmering underneath the family’s antics and twists are the boy’s budding captivation with the long-ago analog charm of moviemaking.
TO MY DEAR GRANNY is ultimately about gravitational pull, the way three people can gel into a flock attuned to each other as an emotional whole. A pull so strong that it surrounds an adult with a love irrepressible even from the other side. –Christina Ree
Co-sponsored by: UCSD Chuan Lyu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies, UCSD Taiwan Studies Lecture Series